How to use a meat cleaver?

Out of the all-professional knives used by chefs, you will always find a meat cleaver among them. Meat cleavers are used to cut through thick chunks of meat and easily cut bigger pieces into small ones. Meat cleavers are also great for spitting large pieces of bones and ribs. Be it a soft or a dense bone, a meat cleaver knife can easily go through it. It does not work as an ordinary knife; therefore, one cannot use it with the same movement and grip as in a normal chef or santoku knife. It is why this article will discuss how to use a meat cleaver. Meat cleaver knives are made from super strong and durable stainless steel and are much harder than any other type of knife. The construction of this knife is stronger and much heavier. Due to this, the knife can cut the bone-in meat with one stroke.

Although the meat cleavers are designed to be used on all kinds of meat, it can also cut and slice harder vegetables like squash, butternut, and crack coconuts. Due to its versatility, the knife is one of the popular and important tools in the kitchen and is used in almost all butcheries and restaurants worldwide. The sharp edge of the knife can cut and chop the meat and scoop the ingredients as well. The flat side of the knife is useful in smashing vegetables and herbs like lemongrass, garlic, ginger, etc. Unlike the other ordinary knives, the meat cleaver knife used sheer momentum to cut meat efficiently. The momentum is gained to the heavyweight of the knife. Due to this, using it to cut any type of means requires a specific technique to do so effectively.

Using a Meat Cleaver blade

One of the most popular among these knives is the Chinese cleaver knife, which slices and dices meat and cuts through bones. Suitable for chopping bones such as pork ribs, beef, and poultry, and for cutting through the tough, dense connective tissue of joints, users often look for instructions on how to use a Chinese cleaver. Chinese cleaver knives are similar to any kind of meat cleaver and are made up of strong stainless steel, with a thick blade and heavier on the tip. Let’s have a look at how these blades can be used effectively.

Setup the chopping board

To use the meat cleaver knife, you first need to have a butcher block or a board, whatever you can get your hands on. Prepare a wet or damp towel and fold it twice. Place it on the table or surface with the board over it. It would prevent the board from slipping in any direction while using the knife.

How to cut

Cutting style of the meat cleaver knife would entirely depend on the type of ingredients you are using. If you are using a small piece of meat, then you can gently use the knife with a rocking motion to put the meat into smaller pieces. However, if you are using a big piece of meat with bone, then using the weight of the knife, you need to throw the knife’s edge on it using the momentum. Using this momentum, the knife will go through the meat and bone. For a roasted duck or any other cooked meat, use the knife in a rocking motion to cleanly cut it.

Grip the knife firmly

Since a meat cleaver knife is much heavier than an ordinary kitchen knife, the kind of grip you need on the knife has to be much firmer and stronger. To do that, simply wrap your fingers around the handle firmly. Placing the thumb on the spine will provide you with additional support and control over the knife movement. Make sure to have a firm grip all through the use to have a precision cut. Also, use the grip to maneuver the movement of the knife with the weight. It makes things much easier and does not add any extra pressure on your wrist.

Use the weight to cut

Once you are ready, simply use the gesture of your arms to cut with the knife. Remember that the maximum work is done by the weight of the knife, which, when falls with gravity, increases the pressure, force and momentum, leading to one action cut on bones and meat. The chopping motion should come from your wrist. Simply raise your arms and bring it down on the food, using the knife’s weight. When chopping, allow your wrist to pivot and transfer the momentum from the knife’s heavy blade. Using this technique provides the maximum impact of the knife on the ingredients. It would normally cut through the bones in one action. However, in rare cases, if it does not, simply repeat the procedure.

It might take some time to get used to this knife

A meat cleaver knife is very different from a regular knife. Those who have never used it before, might find it a little difficult to use for the first time as it is heavier. Handing this knife is very different from how one handles a normal knife. Therefore, if you do not get the hang of it for the first time or are not able to use it with enough force, you just need a little practice. It takes a bit of time to understand how much pressure or force one needs to apply on the meat cleaver knife. If you are using the knife on meat with bone, and the knife gets stuck on the bone, simply put the hand on the knife’s spine and apply force and pressure until it goes through.


If you are buying a meat cleaver or a Chinese cleaver knife for yourself or a professional kitchen to deal with meat and other similar ingredients, you should get one for yourself. These knives are highly durable and are made from the best quality stainless steel. It can be the best tool for cutting meat with bones and even hard vegetables. With multiple uses, this knife can become one of your best tools to go for in the kitchen. Since these meat cleavers are also available in an affordable range, it is easier to get one. It will be one of the most effective knives to use in your inventory once you get the hang of using this knife.

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